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Carol McVay

Age: 71


Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Magic

Sailing Date: 2011-12-12

Itinerary: western Caribbean

This was our first Carnival cruise. The allure of a big new ship sailing from Galveston won us over. We decided to give Carnival a try. Overall, based on my pre-mind set on Carnival, I was plesantly suprised and pleased with the experience.

The ship is beautiful, the food was better than I had expected and the service was equal to most other cruise lines.

While the main theatre is lovely, it doesn't eaisly accommodate such a large number of passengers. One huge problem was that the bingo games were scheduled just prior to the evening's early show. The bingo players remained seated after the bingo was over which meant that the other passengers coming from dinner had no chance for obtaining good seats. There was also a problem with folks being allowed to "save" multiple seats for their other friends.

The on-board crew entertainers did well, but their talents were not up to par with other cruise lines. The special effects, lazer and lighting effects were sometimes over powering. One of the best shows was the Legends using passengers in the part of great legends of entertainment...Elvis, Cher, Sinatra etc. Very well done.

We stopped in Cozumel, Cayman and Montego Bay. Our first ship booked tour was in Cayman. It was a kayak, snorkel tour called Grand Cayman Kayak Safari. It was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in trying either kayaking or snorkeling. The whole tour was in relatively shallow wate & close to shore. It would be a great intruduction to either sport for a novice while having interesting surroundings for others too. Our guide was Jay Henderson and he was great. He is obviously a guy who loves nature and is well versed in all things aquatic.the snorkeling took place around a large coral rock which he described as making you think you were looking at a salt water aquarium...many different fish species all in shallow water and easy to spot.I would definately recommend this tour.

The second tour was on Montego Bay. It was the Appleton Estate Rum tour. The tour of the factory itself took about 30 minutes. The drive there was almost two and a half hours over very winding, rutted roads for much of the time. I don't think 5 hour driving time (two and from) was worth the 1/2 hour tour of the Appleton Estate. I wouldn't recommend this tour.

I thought the waterslide was great fun. Unfortunately, the "yellow" one wasn't running all the time so I only got to try the "orange toilet bowl" one. It was a blast.

The rope course was something else I wanted to try. My mistake was not doing it the first day. I was in my sandals and was too lazy to go back to the cabin for my tennis shoes. The rest of the trip it was so windy the rope course was mostly closed. It did look very interesting and I enjoyed watching those who had the proper shoeson the first day. Word to the sure to do it first opportunity since it isn't always open.

The miniature golf was lots of fun. We played it several times. Suggestion: there should be a sign reminding players to return their putters & balls to the proper place after play.

One big dissapointment was the lack of "mature" danceable music with a decent place to dance. We really missed that.

For such a large ship, the final debarkation was handled smoothly. The process of being tendered on Cayman was another story. Mass confusion and long waits.

Overall, for the convenience of sailing from Galveston on a lovely new ship it was a good cruise. Would I sail Carnival again?....not sure.

The food was a very plesant suprise. I had heard that Carnival was at best mediocre. I found that not to be true. The beef wasn't the best in the world, but other dishes were fine. The speciality restaurant, Cucina Del Capitano was quite good both at lunch (no charge) and at dinner with a nominal fee. I was disappointed that the usual complimentary multi-flavor ice cream by scoop was not available. Soft serve just isn't the same and I thought the pricing for ice cream was a bit much.

The stateroom was fine. I liked the really dark curtains for late morning sleeping. It would have been nice to be able to hear the loud speaker anouncements in the stateroom via the TV if we chose to do so. Sometimes it wasn't convenient to open the door to be able to hear well.

The onboard activities were definately geared to the younger traveler. I missed organized bridge and a good dance band and dance floor as previously mentioned.

Stay away from the Appleton Estate Rum Tour unless you like to ride in a bumpy bus for 5 hours.

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